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Thursday, 3 November 2022

TODAY: Attention turns to MENA as COP27 kicks off on Sunday + Egypt pitches KSA on USD 3 bn of renewables projects

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We have a stacked issue for you today with a roundup of what to expect when COP27 kicks off in Egypt on Sunday. Implementation and climate finance are at the top of the agenda — topics that are natural lead-ins to the stories that are driving the agenda this morning:

DRIVING THE AGENDA this fine Thursday morning- Egypt’s electricity minister is in KSA pitching investors on a raft of renewables projects just days after signing agreements for a 10 GW wind power plant. Meanwhile, Brazil is in talks with KSA on a “green” steel mega hub, and Oman is looking to decarbonize its waste management practices and expand on solar.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY OUTSIDE THE REGION- British PM Rishi Sunak is attending COP27 after all: The UK’s newly-appointed prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has U-turned on his plan to skip COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, announcing in a tweet yesterday that he would attend the summit along with over 100 heads of state.

The story is attracting coverage in the international press: Reuters | Guardian | Financial Times | Bloomberg

THE COUNTDOWN TO COP (3 days to go)-

Now that COP27 is nearly upon us, all eyes are on MENA. Here are thoughts on what you can expect, whether you’re on the ground in Sharm El Sheikh or keeping an eye on proceedings from the comfort of your office.

BUT FIRST- Do you have news coming out of COP? A top exec who’s like to have a chat? Send press releases, statements, communiques and interview requests our way on

Host country Egypt has called this the “COP of implementation,” looking to move away from negotiation — a focal point of COP26 — to delivery: The presidential vision statement calls for “full, timely, inclusive, and at-scale action on the ground,” and leading government voices have emphasized that moving from pledges to implementation is a priority.

What does that mean? Emerging and frontier economies want rich countries to literally show them the money: to help finance investment, particularly when it comes to climate-related businesses — and really step things up when it comes to financial compensation for loss and damage from the impact of climate change.

Also: Funding for development. Egypt climate Czar Mahmoud Mohieldin will also remind attendees that wealthy countries need to step up funding for economic development as part of that process (here and here).

Why? Wealthy nations are the ones who broke our planet as they developed their economies. Having achieved a nice standard of living and social development, they’re now effectively pulling up the ladder and saying to frontier and emerging markets, “You people down there need to cut your carbon emissions, because we really don’t want to cook ourselves off the planet.”

So what can we expect from the conference?

Announcements on climate-friendly projects… Egypt will unveil its national green hydrogen strategy at COP27. We could also see some of its green hydrogen MoUs turn to concrete agreements — keep an eye out for the Scatec / Fertiglobe / Orascom Construction and ReNew Power projects in particular. We may also hear more details about Oman’s ambitious strategy to increase green hydrogen investments to USD 140 bn by 2050. Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) will announce incentives for hydrogen-powered ships — including reduced tariffs to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels. Saudi Arabia is being very aggressive on green investment of late, and we expect the good people at Hassan Allam, Acwa Power and others to have plenty to say.

…And funding: Egypt will announce several green finance allocations in partnership with Japan, China, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) — targeting sustainable development and green transport projects. The country’s International Cooperation Ministry is also set to provide USD 1 bn-worth of financing agreements with companies investing in the sustainability of the transportation, housing, electricity, finance, and irrigation sectors as part of the Egypt Partnership for Climate Transition (E-Pact) initiative. Some 50 climate and development projects — shortlisted by a joint UN-Egypt climate finance roadshowwill be showcased at COP27, with a view to securing financing. The World Bank plans to launch the Scaling Climate Action by Lowering Emissions (Scale) fund — which will mobilize funding to provide grants to developing countries for green projects.

Climate finance provision will be front and center — particularly around the thorny issue of loss and damage: Egypt will champion climate financing for Africa and emerging economies, with an emphasis on loss and damage — spearheading talks about what exactly constitutes adequate climate financing for African nations. It will be supported in this by prominent voices — including UN Climate Champion Mahmoud Mohieldin — who has repeatedly called for talks about economic compensation.

As will DFIs’ “key” role in providing funding for the private sector and helping structure projects properly so they can more easily access this funding, which EBRD Egypt head Khalid Hamza told EnterpriseAM and the International Finance Corporation’s Emmanuel Nyirinkindi recently told Enterprise Climate.

NDC revision and country climate strategies will be under the spotlight: Egypt will urge developed countries to honor their climate pledges — including updated national plans with more ambitious targets, agreed upon at COP26 — despite recent economic turbulence and concerns over energy security. So far, only 23 out of 193 countries have submitted their plans to the UN. Revision of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) will be a top COP27 priority, Foreign Minister and COP27 President Designate Sameh Shoukry has said (watch, runtime: 6:00). And Egypt will announce a new initiative to counter climate change and revision of its national carbon emission reduction plan.

Keep an eye out for more news about NWFE: Egypt is unveiling a new program — the Nexus of Water, Food and Energy (NWFE) — through which it will promote its pipeline of low-carbon projects to investors. The country’s International Cooperation Ministry announced yesterday that it’s inking multiple green financing agreements totaling USD 15 bn — including grants and low-interest loans — with Egyptian private sector firms to fund nine projects in the renewable energy, food security, irrigation, and desalination sectors, under NWFE. A recently-secured USD 2 bn loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development to boost investment in food, energy, and water is also being disbursed through NWFE.

There are going to be lots and lots and lots of corporate events…


Among the days and themes that we think are most relevant to MENA business leaders:

  • World leaders’ summit: 7-8 November (more details here)
  • Finance day: 9 November
  • Decarbonization day: 11 November
  • Adaptation and agriculture day: 12 November
  • Water day: 14 November
  • Energy day: 15 November

COP sub-events on which you’ll want to keep an eye:

Detailed schedule: Download as a pdf here or check out the website here.

COP27 app for attendees: App Store and the Google Play Store.

WATCH THIS SPACE #1- Geopolitics is going to mess with the rate at which we all transition to EVs: Soaring prices of essential battery components — driven by a combination of geopolitical volatility, raw material supply chain disruptions and inflation — are set to stall electric vehicle (EV) adoption and the energy transition, according to an S&P Global report published on Monday.

We’re talking hefty price increases: The price per ton of lithium hydroxide — a key battery metal — currently stands at some USD 80k, a 344% increase from roughly USD 18k in 2019, while lithium carbonate stands at roughly USD 74k/ton, a 428% increase from some USD 14k/ton in 2019, S&P data shows.

And complex, China-dominated supply chains: Sourcing elements — including lithium, nickel, and cobalt — to manufacture EV batteries and other key components involves a “lengthy and complex” development chain, with multiple “choke points,” S&P notes. China currently dominates the market in refining these materials and assembling battery cells, it notes, creating “a challenging lack of geographic diversity.”

China will likely continue leading the pack: New companies are set to play “a major role” in EV battery tech development, S&P says, but major auto companies hoping to bypass the “cost-effective supply of processed materials” coming from or through China could face challenges from geopolitical trade disruptions, it adds. Some will also actively seek “locked-in” supply chains with established players, it notes.

Apparently, Saudi didn’t get the memo: Saudi Arabia’s planning a strategic shift to become “a leading green metal refining and processing hub,” with plans to build strong EV value chains as part of its diversification away from hydrocarbons, Saudi Mining Minister Bandar Al Khorayef said, according to Reuters. It plans to award more than a dozen mining exploration licenses to international investors, with five new exploration sites currently up for grabs and another ten slated for next year, he added. It plans to attract some USD 32 bn in investment in its mining and mineral sector, he said.

Growing demand will feed into the challenges: S&P Global Mobility forecasts annual market demand from auto manufacturers of some 3.4 Terawatt hours (TWh) of lithium-ion batteries by 2030. The output from the auto industry in 2021 was a mere 0.29 TWh.

WATCH THIS SPACE #2- Tawadul-listed Adnoc and Siemens Energy will launch a blockchain tech trial to measure the oil giant’s carbon footprint, WAM reports. The tech will compile data from Adnoc’s entire operational chain via smart sensors measuring the amount of carbon dioxide needed to generate energy sources including aviation fuel and ammonia. The data will then be rerouted to a decentralized blockchain registry to enable regulators to verify the “carbon intensity” of different Adnoc operations and inform customers about the carbon footprint of various products, WAM notes.


In Abu Dhabi: The last day of Adipec kicks off, gathering some 40 ministers from around the world including the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Egypt. Discussions will partly focus on the transition toward carbon neutrality. Hosted by Adnoc, Adipec bills itself as “the world's most influential gathering for energy industry professionals.” Tap or click here to register.

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The Hawkamah Annual Conference (Building Investor Confidence Through Governance) will kick off on Tuesday, 15 November in Dubai. The conference will address governance from the perspective of investors including expectations and interaction with boards as well as the role of regulators and companies in preparing for IPOs to attract the right investors.

Saudi Arabia’s Education Ministry will host the Global Conference on Sustainable Partnerships on Wednesday, 23 November to Thursday, 24 November in Riyadh, bringing together ministers and senior officials from the private and public sectors. The conference will focus on transforming innovations and scientific research to achieve integration between universities, research, development and the innovation sector.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.

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